Jonathan Mannion Tells All: The Stories Behind His 25 Favorite Album Covers

#20. Run-DMC, Crown Royal (2001)

Jonathan Mannion: “Run-DMC was one of the first groups that I got to wrap my head around as a young kid. I was in grade-school, listening to ‘My Adidas.’ A friend of mine, named Joe Mantey got ahold of [Raising Hell], and we would play the album over and over again.

“Back then, we didn’t know who they were. It’s not until you grow up that you realize the impact that they had on thrusting rap into spotlight. Having been part of it, in that I witnessed it and remembered it, but having never been able to make a contribution to it, this was was my chance to contribute. I got to work with legends.

 

Each of them brought something that represented them, and one of the pieces was Jam Master Jay’s dookie gold chain, with the shoe hanging from it. Little did I know that it would never be seen again. He’s buried in it.

 

“I love working with artists that have affected my personal journey, musically. I hold them in a higher regard. It’s very easy to rise to the occasion, because you know how special it already is.

“It was great to shoot them. DMC was the truth. I had just shot Rev Run for the three kings Fader cover, with Zack De La Rocha and DJ Premier. We already had a great working relationship around that time.

“Working with Jam Master Jay, he and I connected. He did exactly what we wanted. He and D seemed to be a little bit closer, in that moment. They were the ones taking the meetings and leading the charge.

“I asked them to bring all of their old-school items. Each of them brought something that represented them, and one of the pieces was Jam Master Jay’s dookie gold chain, with the shoe hanging from it.

“Little did I know that it would never be seen again, a year later. He’s buried in it. It made me realize how important even the artifacts are from this journey.

“We really focused on single shots of every individual, versus them as a group. I got some really great individual shots of Jam Master Jay, but it was the details representing the bigger picture of the movement that were important, particularly the chain, the glasses and the hat.”

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